Margaret River Overview
- Coastlines, Cabernets and culture
- Country Life
- Wine tasting and wave-riding
If Margaret River didn’t exist, someone with an active imagination would have made it up. Just three hours south of Perth, the region mingles natural beauty with phenomenal dining and over 120 wineries that produce a quarter of Australia’s best bottles.
Your options are endless: the coastline proffers clear waters and world-class surfing, cellar doors are always open, wildflowers are abloom, and an arty heritage spills out of its many galleries. Stir into the mix a host of hearty exploits from sea-air-kissed trail walks to soul-uplifting yoga, and it’s easy to see why the allure of this Western Australian getaway is increasingly contagious.
Marvellously Margaret River
Despite being one of the great wine-producing regions of the world, the original vines were only planted in Margaret River in the late 1960s. In 1967, Dr Tom Cullity successfully planted the first acres of cabernet sauvignon, riesling, malbec and hermitage on his property, resulting in the birth of the Vasse Felix vineyard (www.vassefelix.com.au). Just four years later the winery won its first award and subsequently released its debut commercial offering, and with that the Margaret River wine industry was born.
- You’re more likely to catch a ride on the Bommy – Margaret River’s fast, peeling right-hand surf break – than flag a cab down on the street. Better to book one in advance through the Margaret River Taxi & Tour Service (08 9757 3444).
- Tipping culture
- A 10 per cent tip for waiters is customary if you're happy with the service.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Most wineries open their cellar doors between 10am and 5pm daily. The shops in the region's towns keep standard 9am to 5pm hours.
- Packing tips
- A picnic rug and corkscrew for alfresco ploughman’s lunches; a snorkel and mask for exploring the waters; a camera for snapping the surf gods.
- Recommended reads
- The Australian Wine Annual 2010, by one of the land’s foremost wine writers and presenters, Jeremy Oliver, will help you tell your semillons from your sauvignons. Ray Jordan’s WA Wine Guide 2010 rates and reviews the state’s best wines and vineyards.
- Regional specialities
- It’s only been just over 40 years since the first vines were planted in this region but already the Margaret River wineries are producing world-class premium wine. Chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet blends are the region’s most celebrated wine varieties but you’ll also uncork splendid shiraz and more unconventional varietals like sangiovese and viognier.
- Australian dollar (AU$).
- Time zone
- GMT +8.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Australia: +61; Margaret River: (0)8.
- Do go/don't go
- The Mediterranean climate makes the Margaret River an ideal destination year-round. In summer, temperatures rarely creep above 32°C and in winter average around 18°C during the day, although it can be a touch chilly at night. This is a popular holiday destination, which gets very busy at Easter, Christmas and during major events, so book well ahead.
Don't go home without...
visiting a local winery. Big names such as Leeuwin Estate (www.leeuwinestate.com.au), Xanadu (www.xanaduwines.com) and Voyager Estate (www.voyagerestate.com.au) are here but it’s worth exploring the smaller cellar doors, too, including Cullen Wines (www.cullenwines.com.au), Moss Wood (www.mosswood.com.au) and Stella Bella (www.stellabella.com.au).